This document expands on the web site section of the UCISA communications strategy to provide more information on the vision and aims of the UCISA web service. It should ideally be read in conjunction with the Web Development Plan.
This strategy envisages a web site where information about UCISA is up to date, clearly organised, useful and easily accessible from the UCISA web site. Within the site are group sections that are part of the UCISA corporate identity but are encouraged to develop their own areas. Resources in the site will be consolidated, easy to find and easy to maintain. New resources will be added to existing resources such as the UCISA & MISG Directories, publications and links to related sites. The UCISA Directories will be promoted and improved so that members will become more aware of the value of these on-line resources and find them easier to use.
UCISA will manage the site and the services that enable people to contribute to and maintain the site. Working closely with the web service provider, (ILRT), UCISA will develop the sites to meet members needs encouraging consultation and feedback to identify problem areas and develop new directions. Regular reviews will ensure that the quality of the site remains high and that the information members want is available to them.
This is designed to be an annual report that evaluates the position of the web within the UCISA Communication strategy and establishes the vision of how the web site will develop for the coming year.
This strategy supports the UCISA Communication Strategy. The aim of this document is to provide more detail on the electronic services aspects of the Communication Strategy and indicate how electronic services are supporting the guiding principles of the UCISA Communication Strategy.
The aims of the UCISA Web Strategy are:
- Web services should be accessible, clear, useful and easy to use for visitors and members.
- The web site will consolidate and promote existing content, stressing its quality and providing easy and focused navigation. UCISA will consider ideas for new services and will explore and trial new developments where there is perceived value and available resources.
- Security will be kept to a minimum on the site and will be as transparent as possible. Where security measures are used the reason for doing so will be recorded.
- As the web site is UCISA’s main communication point, information on it will be accurate, timely and up to date.
- UCISA will enable co-operation between the people who maintain, contribute to and use the web site by ensuring appropriate tools, processes and communication channels are available. This will include meetings and training for web maintainers based on demand.
- The management activities of the web site and development plans for it will be clear, documented and will be published as appropriate to keep web service users informed of plans and issues and encourage consultation.
- The UCISA web site will aim to provide open communication and a valuable source of information for members, partners and visitor.
UCISA Web Site
The UCISA web site is the main place for information about UCISA. Any information that is published by UCISA should be available here. It will also aim to advertise and promote the activities of UCISA, provide information resources to UCISA members and foster links with UCISA partners.
The UCISA web site will be clear, accessible to all visitors and easy to use. Information will be well organised and signposted. Navigation will be intuitive and simple and a search facility will be provided so that visitors can accurately locate information. A navigation panel will be present on each page and headers and footers will be standardised by basing the site on a content management framework that separates content from presentation. UCISA will publish privacy and data protection policies on the web site. A mechanism will be provided for visitors to give feedback.
UCISA will continue to build on the corporate style that has been established on the web site. All current pages will be converted to the new style to ensure a consistent look. Advice and information will be offered to enable web maintainers to use and develop the corporate style.
Priority will be given to information quality. The structure of the site will ensure that key UCISA information is available in the top levels of the site and not hidden away. Information will be regularly updated and the currency of information maintained. The news section will be based on a database to ensure it is regularly updated.
Each user of the web site from a member institution may have an individual login and profile. This profile will give a single sign on to the various protected resources on the site and will also allow users to view and maintain their own contact information and privacy settings. Users will also be able to reset their password on demand and change their password. Users will have a personalised login page which will provide them with links to various interactive services available on the web site.
The web site aims to provide a space that UCISA groups can use to communicate with other group members and publish information relevant to the group. There will be links to each group site on the home page of the UCISA site. Group sections are required to use the corporate styles but all have different ways of organising their sections and this is to be encouraged. Use of the corporate style is required to sustain the UCISA image but shouldn’t excessively constrain the activities of the groups. Each group will have a protected area for the group's committee.
There will be training material provided online for web maintainers and meetings or training days as required to assist web maintainers including guidelines and advice on best practice. The web maintainers area of the site will be improved to provide more assistance. Groups will be encouraged to make it clear on their sites who their web maintainers are.
There are several useful resources on the UCISA site at present including the statistics and mini-surveys and several documents but these are not promoted and are difficult to find. Therefore resources on the web site will be consolidated and promoted more to raise awareness. There will be better organisation of resources so that related information is easier to find and resources can be maintained so that they are useful to members. UCISA will continue to build and develop their events archive to ensure that presentation are available to members once the event has passed.
There are some useful sources of information that aren’t currently represented on the web site, tapping into the experience of former members, or sharing case studies and papers for example. These sort of resources will be useful in drawing visitors for to the site and raising the profile of UCISA .
Links to external sites will be reviewed for accuracy and usefulness. Other links may be added to the site especially links promoting partner activities to encourage them to reciprocate thereby increasing publicity for UCISA.
A priority activity will be to improve the usability of the directories. At the moment much data in the directories is out of date and there is not much evidence that the directories are used much. Possible reasons for the neglect of the directories are:
It is possible that many members do not know that the directories exist or understand the point of them.
- Ease of use.
It is complicated for institutions to access and update their data in the directories.
Institutions may not understand the value of the directories, or feel that in their current format the directories are not valuable enough for them to maintain information.
- Redundant data.
Much of the existing data is out of date and this does not encourage other institutions to maintain their data.
UCISA will embark on a redevelopment project in 2003 to address these issues and to take advantage of the benefits afforded by the new web platform. The directories will be based on the institutional data in UCISA's database with interfaces to both administrative systems and via the web. The directories will be considered as an integrated resource providing a variety of member institutional data. Institutional reps will be able to maintain data for their institutions and individual users will be able to maintain contact data about themselves. Opportunities for linking this data with other datasets will be explored as is appropriate and feasible.
UCISA’s main publication at the moment is Update a printed, 4 page newsletter. UCISA also prints publicity materials such as brochures and flyers. All UCISA published material should be available electronically on the web site to view and to download. Documents should continue to be uploaded to the web site for distribution to members. The processes and tools for doing this should be clear. In addition new methods of publication will be investigated to produce some web only content and interactive features.
Back Office Functions
UCISA will ensure that tools and services are available for web maintainers to enable them to contribute to and maintain the site. These tools and services will enable transfer from UCISA databases to remote database, pages to be uploaded and managed and any electronic services such as mailing lists and web forms to be maintained.
UCISA will continue work with our web service provider, currently the Institute of Learning and Research Technology (ILRT), to provide web services that meet the needs of all web stakeholders and provide value for money to the organisation. UCISA will agree communication channels, support provision and developments with ILRT and manage these to ensure timely and cost effective delivery. UCISA will hold quarterly meetings with ILRT.
Design and Style
UCISA will ensure that the corporate style is applied to all current areas of the web site. All sections of the web site will incorporate the UCISA identity but groups will be encouraged to develop and customise their sections. The photo on the home page of the UCISA web site will change annually.
The site will be accessible to as wide an audience as possible. UCISA will consider visitors who may not be able to experience the full range of web features. UCISA will regularly review the site’s accessibility using tools such as http://wave.webaim.org/ and will ensure that the site can be viewed in a text only format with no loss of service. The UCISA web site will conform to current standards, best practice and legislation and follow advice found at http://wiht.co/guidetoaccessibility
The web site will be reviewed monthly to check basic quality and update current information. Link breaks will be fixed as soon as they are reported to the relevant web maintainer. Pages will always have the date last updated on them and accurate copyright information. As a promoter of best practice in this area UCISA will set high standards in quality and accessibility of information. Quality information will be included in web reviews. UCISA will provide regular reports on web site activities and will provide access to web logs.
UCISA aims to provide tighter management or web services and also encourage more people to contribute to the development of the web site. UCISA will ensure that information about web management is published to members. Regular reviews will be established. The dates of these reviews will be published in advance and members will be encouraged to give feedback in advance of these. A report will be published following each review. Web statistics will also be published and publicly available. UCISA will ensure that adequate mechanisms are in place to enable feedback from members and consultation over plans and developments. UCISA will monitor the delivery of developments and ensure that members are informed about progress.